142. The Humans by Matt Haig

Hello everybody! and welcome to the first book review of 2020.

Today I’ll be reviewing a book that will give you giggles and food for reflections, so lets begin!

You all may have come across some authors whom you’ve know about for years but never had the opportunity to read.

Matt Haig and his books have passed my eye many times in the last 5 years but somehow I always missed out on reading his stories.

The Humans by Matt Haig, seemed like an interesting first book to be introduced to his writing and I must say I liked it a lot.

“Make sure, as often as possible, you are doing something you’d be happy to die doing.”

The story revolves around a Professor Andrew Martin and his family, who are invaded by an alien on a mission to destroy all evidence of a mathematical discovery Andrew made and all the humans who know about.

“This was, I would later realise, a planet of things wrapped inside things. Food inside wrappers. Bodies inside clothes. Contempt inside smiles. Everything was hidden away.”

He literally morphs into the Professor (before killing him) and starts living his life.

Except the alien doesn’t know how to behave, speak, and integrate into society as a human which leads to some dangerous and funny accidents including walking around naked in the university campus in the morning.

“Knowledge is finite. Wonder is infinite.”

The book is narrated from the perspective of the alien with tips and tricks on how to navigate this mundane life for aliens.

“It was, of course, another test. Everything in human life was a test. That was why they all looked so stressed out.”

It is quite hilarious at some point and I’m glad that both we and the aliens agree that dogs are special beings that literally demand love and give it back as well.

“Everyone is a comedy. If people are laughing at you, they just don’t quite understand the joke that is themselves.”

I’ll admit that The Humans isn’t any groundbreaking book with a story that is completely out of the box, and if you’re a Desi than I’m sure you’ve seen Piku (the movie) which has a similar theme.

“To be a human is to state the obvious. Repeatedly. Over and over, until the end of time.”

But Matt Haig’s funny and satirical analysis of the human behaviour and relationships, coupled with the more serious and sad aspects of our existence makes this book a light yet observant read.

“Let’s not forget The Things They Do To Make Themselves Happy That Actually Make Them Miserable. This is an infinite list. It includes – shopping, watching TV, taking the better job, getting the bigger house, writing a semi-autobiographical novel, educating their young, making their skin look mildly less old and harboring a vague desire to believe there might be a meaning to it all.”

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a reminder on what it is like to be a human written from the perspective of a non-human, this will grab your attention. If anything it’ll make you realize that you shouldn’t take yourself or the people in it too seriously.

And sometimes, that is all that you need to be reminded of; to take it easy and not be consumed in your own bubble.

Onto the basics:

  1. Rating: 4.0/5.0
  1. Favorite quote: “A paradox: The things you don’t need to live—books, art, cinema, wine, and so on—are the things you need to live.”
  2. Reader level: E
  3. Should you read: Please do.
  4. Would I read it again: This was one of those books that are meant to be read once, and re-visited for the quotes you underline. So probably not.

Till next time

-Sarah

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